State “holiday” tree sparks Christmas controversy

Governor Steve Beshear has angered some Christians with his yuletide terminology. A giant evergreen that will brighten the Capitol lawn this winter will not be called a Christmas tree. Instead, the Beshear administration has dubbed it a “holiday tree’.

Governor Steve Beshear has angered some Christians with his yuletide terminology.

A giant evergreen that will brighten the Capitol lawn this winter will not be called a Christmas tree.  Instead, the Beshear administration has dubbed it a “holiday tree’.  The state’s website makes that distinction in a New Release that asks for a property to donate the tree.
The Rev. Jeff Fugate of Lexington says the change in terminology is offensive to Christians.
The Governor’s Deputy Communications Director, Jill Midkiff says, “I think the idea of calling it a holiday tree instead of a Christmas tree is to be all inclusive.”
The News Release was issued by the Finance Cabinet.  Cindy Lanham is the Director of Communications for the Finance Cabinet.  She says the holiday tree reference was used last year as well and is meant to be inclusive of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah and New Year’s. 
“Holiday tree is not a new expression for us. It is there to celebrate the holiday season and we invite all Kentuckians to celebrate with us.”
Here are some other comments:
The Rev. Boyd Bingham of Binghamtown Baptist Church in Middlesboro says, “It’s sad I’m not surprised that we’ve come to this. We are excluding the very one that the world didn’t have room for two thousand years ago. We don’t want to be bigoted or narrow minded, but most Americans know its still Christmas.”
Senate President David Williams says, Steve Beshear in his continued swing to the left shows that political correctness is more important than Kentucky values.  It is difficult to see how anyone could take offense at the cherished tradition of Christmas at the Kentucky capitol.”
House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins says, “I will turn 50 in December and for five decades my family has decorated a Christmas tree. I believe most KY’s honor this tradition and like me will refer to the decorated tree at the Capitol as a Christmas tree.”
State Senator Johnny Ray Turner says, “As long as I’ve been alive it’s been called a Christmas tree and to me it’s a Christmas tree. It is Christ’s birthday. I didn’t realize it was called a holiday tree. I think it should be called a Christmas tree.”
State Senator Brandon Smith says, “I’m not going to call it a holiday tree, it’s a Christmas tree. It will be a Christmas tree at my house. This is foolishness, wanting to wash away symbols that we hold dear in this nation is foolishness and for the state to follow suit is disappointing.”
Do you find the use of the holiday offensive? Let me know your thoughts. This is also the topic of our web poll. Click here to vote.
Here is the full text of the state’s news release:
Finance and Administration Cabinet
State Seeking Donation for Commonwealth Holiday Tree

Press Release Date: 
Tuesday, October 27, 2009  
Contact Information: 
Cindy Lanham


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2009). — The Commonwealth of Kentucky is looking for a property owner who is willing to donate a tree that will stand in front of the State Capitol as the Commonwealth Holiday tree.  The tree will be decorated and lit during a ceremony the first week of December. 
The Frankfort Plant Board (FPB) will remove the selected tree and provide stump grinding during the last week of November at no cost to the landowner.  Wilson’s Nurseries of Frankfort will donate a replacement tree that will be planted during the appropriate season. The individual or family that donates the tree will be recognized at the tree lighting ceremony held at the Capitol.
To be considered, trees must meet the following guidelines:
  • Have a pyramid shape with fullness, especially at the bottom;
  • Be between 35 to 50 feet tall;
  • Have few or no holes in the body of the tree;
  • Should not be growing into a house or another tree;
  • Access must be provided with clearance of at least 10 feet in width with no power lines growing into the tree;
  • No other obstacles, such as buildings, should prevent access to the tree; and
  • FPB must be able to back a low-boy trailer up to the tree in order to load and haul it away. 
Qualified owners interested in donating a tree should call (502) 564-5500.  The owner of the selected tree will be contacted with details for the removal.
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